Students uncertain about returning to school in the fall

Mackenzie Bernas

With daily Covid-19 news stories, social distancing, mandatory masks, and worldwide education taking place at home, there comes the question of how safe students will feel going back to school in September. There are a lot of concerns surrounding when tomorrow becomes a regular school day resembling pre-March. PA’s busy hallways perpetually in a rush, social distancing in a classroom, and catching the infamous virus are a few concerns expressed by PA’s students. Junior Shannon Dinniman takes into account how old the school is and the sheer amount of students that have the potential to spread Covid-19 when weighing her wariness on the possible return in fall.

“I don’t really trust PA to be fully clean and safe by the time school is supposed to start in the fall,” stated Dinniman. “Princess Anne seems like it would easily become a hotspot if even one infected person comes to school.” Dinniman added how much out of her hands this crisis is. No matter what the school board plans, Dinniman feels “like everybody is going to have issues.”

Although some students inevitably want to continue in-class learning right away, junior Anna Seyrlehner believes it’s still important to be cautious. “I think I would feel safe, but I think that it is only because I want to go back so badly,” stated Seyrlehner, but also mentioned that the pandemic could spread ‘very quickly’ inside the school. This leads to what Seyrlehner considers the scariest part of going back: spreading the virus to family members. Seyrlehner’s concerns lie with her grandmother and she continues to write that “she is ‘super-high risk’ and if I gave herself something and she passed, I would never forgive myself.”

Another scary part about going to school again is the uncertainty of the fluctuating graph of Covid-19 cases. Freshman Dakota Helgren thinks she’d be nervous “because people are predicting a spike again in the fall.”

Dinniman also believes it’s a high possibility that students will return to school “unless there’s another spike in cases in the winter.” The possibility of going back to school and having to drop everything again to revert to online learning is greatly concerning to Dinniman. “If we end up having to do this kind of thing again, I don’t know what I’ll do.”

With the issue of safety for students in the fall, there are undoubtedly concerned parents. Junior Daphne Zhao thinks her mother finds going back to school unnecessary and dangerous. “If they did make us go to school, my mom probably wouldn’t let me go to school,” said Zhao. Zhao’s mother knows students in private school who “have to wake up at the regular time and do school over zoom every single day as a normal schedule.” Zhao believes there is a big difference as far as schedules and regular meets go for PA. “If they make us do zoom classes,” said Zhao, “I’d rather go back to school or else I probably won’t keep up with my [work].”

Many students believe that face-to-face classroom learning is important, but it’s questionable whether or not it’s worth the risks. “I want to be able to go to school, but at the same time you want to be safe,” said Helgren.

Dinniman stated how important in-class learning is especially with the difficulty of online learning, but she thinks “public health and safety is more important than face-to-face classroom learning.” If she had a choice Dinniman writes that she would choose health and safety ‘every day of the week.’

Although the risks are not to be overlooked, Seyrlehner believes that learning in class is important enough to face the odds. She believes that it’s the better way for ‘learning and getting things.’ Lastly, Seyrlehner believes communication is something students really need because “life is all about communicating with others, and eventually when things go back to a new normal, we are going to need to know how to communicate.”